Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke to the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, expressing support for a two-state solution and emphasizing his desire for a new start in Israel-EU relations through their “shared” liberal values.
Lapid was the first Israeli government official to address the council since Tzipi Livni in 2008.
“It is no secret that I support a two-state solution,” Lapid said. “Unfortunately there is no current plan for this. However, there is one thing we all need to remember. If there is eventually a Palestinian state, it must be a peace-loving democracy. We cannot be asked to take part in the building of another threat to our lives.”
“What we need to do now is make sure that no steps are taken that will prevent the possibility of peace in the future, and we need to improve the lives of Palestinians. Whatever is humanitarian, I will be for it. Everything that builds the Palestinian economy, I am for it.”
Lapid then spoke about Israel’s “shared values” with the EU: “Israel has shared interests with the EU – but more than that, we have shared values: human rights, LGBTQI+ community rights, a commitment to the basic elements of democracy: a free press, an independent judiciary, a strong civil society, freedom of religion. We are committed to fighting together the climate crisis, international terrorism, racism, and extremism.”
Lapid also stressed Israel’s need to defend itself. “Israel will do whatever it takes to defend itself,” he said. “I accept the idea that part of our dialogue is based on moral judgments. I want to hear your honest opinions.”
“But it is not unreasonable for me to expect that this dialogue will take into account that my home is under attack.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)